Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminal legal systems and their impact on individuals and society. In this fascinating major, you’ll examine the social processes of criminalization, institutional responses to crime, and the nature, causes and prevention of criminal behavior.

Prepare for meaningful work in a fast-growing field

As a criminology major, you’ll take a deep dive into the subtleties and complexities of social inequality, antisocial behavior, criminal justice, court systems, mass incarceration, and the complicated ways government policies can impact individual lives. You’ll prepare for leadership roles in community organizations, social service agencies, law firms, legislative offices, the criminal justice system and many other professional settings. In small classes, you’ll work side-by-side with caring, talented professors. You’ll learn to write, conduct original research and communicate effectively within organizations and across cultures. You can even earn a master’s degree in social work with just one additional year of study.

More ways to learn, on campus and beyond

Practical experience is built into the criminology curriculum. You are encouraged to acquire practical experience through special opportunities and community-based learning opportunities. Our internships draw on Chicago’s great legal and social resources. We make our connections your connections, so you can test-drive your dream job in the real world. Our faculty will work closely with you to prepare your work for presentation at our spring research expo or even at the annual conferences of regional associations of sociologists and criminologists. Through the university’s community-based learning program, you’ll combine in-depth academic study with compassionate service to people in need, in Chicago and beyond. In addition, the university offers a choice of study-abroad programs on four continents.

About 50% of criminology students choose to double major in sociology or another discipline. You also can select a minor from among 45 options. Among the most popular are:

A double major is offered for students interested in earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in both sociology and criminology.

Araceli Gutierrez

Criminology Graduate

“I enjoyed so many great opportunities, including a chance to complete an internship in Washington, D.C. The Dominican faculty was very generous with their time and committed to me. My goal now is to help others as an immigration attorney.”

Great preparation for work—and for life

A survey of U.S. employers by Hart Research Associates found that 93% of bosses say that “a job candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems” is the most important factor in hiring decisions. That is the essential skill set of our graduates. Our criminology curriculum is designed to prepare you for lifelong intellectual and professional competence. In graduate school and in the workplace, our alumni know what they’re doing. They’re thoughtful, deeply informed, open to new ideas, comfortable with emerging technologies, and able to adapt and thrive through long and meaningful careers. They have earned their way into leadership positions in the professions of their choice.

Armani Brockman

Criminology Major

“I was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship from the university, which enabled me to get the most out of my Dominican experience. It has been an incredible opportunity, and has inspired me to earn a master’s degree in social work at DU.”

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